I adore San Fransisco. The scenery, the food, the hills, the sites, the lifestyle. The City by the Bay has my heart for sure. It’s such a perfect little weekend trip or not-too-far-away getaway destination. It doesn’t help that it’s just a few hours South of the wonderful Napa Valley either. Over my Spring Break (yup, I still get one. Go ahead and hate me!) I met one of my best friends from high school in San Francisco. She lives in Saint Helena so it was just a short drive down for her. In San Fran, we met up with one of her good friends from college who now lives in the city. My time here was rather short– just being a day and a night, as we were driving down the Pacific Coast Highway the next day to make our way down to Santa Barbara. I had a wedding and they had just always wanted a getaway there. (More on that, soon).
I’ve visited San Francisco before on my way to and from visiting my friend in Napa. I loved it. Everything we did there was perfect. We crossed some of the tourist destinations off of our lists and took the recommendations of friends to find some more local spots. I’ve been waiting to go back since that trip two years ago and this was the perfect chance.
Upon arriving, I entertained myself for a bit walking to see the Painted Ladies and spend some time around Haight-Ashbury. From there I continued on to Mr. Holmes Bakeshop. Unfortunately they were sold out for the day, so I had to fill my snack craving elsewhere. I wandered around the Mission neighborhood and took in some of the graffiti art in the alleys. From here we dined at Little Gem, an amazingly cute and healthy lunch spot. I had a delicious salad with grapefruit and avocado. My girlfriends tried two different bowls they had. All was delicious and was perfect to tide me over until dinner.
After our late lunch at Little Gem we went to Hawk’s Hill to take in the beautiful views of the bridge. A must, every time, when visiting San Francisco. It’s a view of which I don’t think I could ever get tired. It started raining just as we got up there, but that didn’t stop us. We witnessed a proposal and of course saw countless photographers waiting for the perfect shot. After we found a few nice people who knew their way around a camera to snap some pictures for us and the sun had set, we drove down the hill to Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito. We grabbed a drink at their on site restaurant called Murray Circle. We had a few cocktails and listened to some amazing live music. Music we loved so much that we were a little late in leaving.
We rushed home to get ready for dinner that evening. After narrowing it down for a long list of recommendations (more on those at the end) we decided on a late dinner at LihoLiho. We were unfortunately a little too late (I blame the awesome live music. And the excitement of being reunited with old friends. And the fact that our uber was super slow) because all we could have was dessert. Well, we ordered one of everything and had dessert and cocktails, which was all fabulous. It only made me want to return for dinner to get the full experience even more. The restaurant is such a cool concept!
From here we wanted a little night cap so we headed around the corner (walking through a slightly questionable street or two) to a speakeasy called Bourbon & Branch. There are two separate rooms, call ahead for the larger, more intimate one. The drinks are crafted to taste and are delicious. Unfortunately, I’d been up almost 24 hours by this time with an early fight out of Dallas and a time change, so I feared I wouldn’t make it long. I was right.
The next morning we woke up early to get ready and grab some breakfast before starting our road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara. We didn’t grab just any ole’ breakfast though. We went to the mother of all bakeries: Tartine Bakery. Go. Just trust me. We tried quite a few things between us and between savory and sweet my taste buds left so happy. I will embarrassingly admit that I’ve looked back on the picture (my friends are guilty, too) to reminisce about just how phenomenal each thing was. I mean, whoa. We definitely began our road trip in a carb coma.
I wanted to try all new spots when visiting San Francisco this time, but I definitely have some favorites from my last trip, too. Next time, I’ll shoot for a good mixture of both old and new.
I can’t wait to try again-
- The Fish
- Cash only, go early (a line forms quick), located in Sausalito
- Order the Saigon Salmon Sandwich. Seriously. OMG.
- The Slanted Door
- Modern Vietnamese
- La Mar
- Order any and every ceviche
- We loved this so much we ate at it in Santiago, also
- Gott’s Roadside
- Burgers + Shakes (or hit up the original in Napa)
- Hog Island Oyster Company
- A must for cocktails, food, and a view
- Wayfare Tavern
- Owned by Tyler Florence (from the Food Network)
- Perfect for drinks + snacks
- Named the best fried chicken in the city
- Top of the Mark
- Perfect 360 views for a cocktail and some appetizers
- Trick Dog
- Craft cocktails & a fun atmosphere
Stil on my list-
- Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
- Flour + Water
- Home Plate
Things to do besides eating:
- Alcatraz: yes it’s touristy, but it’s awesome. Especially for this girl who once wanted to be a criminal Psychologist.
- Pier 39
- Fisherman’s Wharf
- Ride the Cable Cars or go to the Cable Car Museum
- Walk up and down Lombard Street
- Walk around & vintage shop in Haight-Ashbury
- San Francisco Botanical Garden
- 16th Avenue Tiled Steps
- Ghiradelli Square (C’mon, ya know you love chocolate)
Stay tuned for more on this amazing California road trip. Coming soon!
Did I miss any of your favorite San Fran spots? If so, please let me know! I’m always looking for more to add to my travel to-do list.